The Rich Experience of 3D Technology

Jon Fisher, Technology Manager, Palio

There’s no denying it: 3D is the new black.

The technology has leapfrogged quickly from limited-release movies to general use in the cinema, on televisions and now on smartphones. And, the growth shows no signs of slowing. According to research firm In-Stat, total annual shipments of 3D mobile devices will surpass 148 million units in 2015.

With expanding 3D capacity in the consumer space, it’s natural for marketers – including health care marketers – to consider how best to leverage this technology’s capabilities. Emerging possibilities include:

Games for education. While Web-based games exist now, adding 3D technology to the mix greatly expands the depth and possibility of the experience. Games solve a wide range of training and learning challenges, and 3D technology enables users to experience – not just look at – things on the screen. Other technologies allow users to become part of the game experience, enabling them to see themselves on the screen. Imagine the patient using 3D technology to learn physical therapy modalities or gain greater knowledge about a complex procedure.

And the games aren’t just for patients. New 3D technologies provide medical professionals and students the opportunity to practice on 3D video patients using the same interactive techniques and decision-making processes they would use with real patients. The provider sees the patient’s chart, his or her physical presentation, and results from any recent tests. The provider can order tests and treatments, providing a level of interaction once available only via on-the-job training. And the 3D environment taps into the familiarity and ease-of-use of video games, making learning fun and engaging.

Visualization. 3D can unlock details otherwise bound in 2D, leading to better diagnostics, surgical training and even remote robotic surgery. Already, stereoscopic technologies enable minimally invasive methods for complex procedures, reducing healing time, increasing patient throughput, and improving procedure success rates while reducing investment and increasing productivity in medical applications.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center’s Breast Health Center is one of the first health care providers in the country to offer the Selenia Dimensions 3D Digital Mammography System, which gives radiologists the tools needed to detect breast cancer earlier than with traditional 2D imaging in patients with dense breast tissue.

These visualization technologies go beyond diagnostics and can be used for marketing to patients as well. Indiana’s NorthShore Health Centers attracts maternity patients with 3D/4D ultrasounds that provide a clearer image of the unborn child than traditional ultrasounds.

While 3D may not yet be on every phone, TV or computer screen, it’s rapidly gaining ground and provides marketing, training and communications opportunities. Are your communications efforts ready to take advantage of them?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.


Client/Agency Series: Managing Expectations

Tiffany Ryan, VP, Account Services, Palio

One of the most critical factors for any successful agency/client relationship is expectation management. Yes, we may be revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing at Palio, but we’re also keeping projects on track by setting and managing our clients’ expectations – as well as our internal teams’ expectations –  every day. Both client and agency must set their level of expectation for the relationship, interaction, and process. They must be clearly articulated and agreed to by both sides in order to develop a strong and strategic partnership.

Communicating expectations up front is critical to setting the path to success. At a minimum, clients expect that their agencies will be smart about their business, strategic in their approach and decisions, and adherent to timelines. Second, they will likely have expectations around the frequency and method of communication, visibility of staff aligned to their business, and engagement by senior management on their brand.

Agency expectations are a direct result of wanting to achieve and exceed the client’s expectations of the relationship. For instance, agencies expect that clients will share and communicate key information that helps them be smart and strategic about their business. This may often include the request for all previous and current brand materials, research reports, and involvement in key meetings and marketing debriefs. Agencies also need to know how the client likes to be communicated with, how often they expect to receive communication, and at what key touch points the client prefers live meetings vs. e-mail or phone follow up.

Foremost, the agency expects that clients will be open and willing to have direct and honest conversations with them – dialogue centered around brand dynamics, agency work, and agency/client team effectiveness. This ongoing dialogue is paramount to a successful, ongoing relationship that works for both parties. Although honest dialogue about what is NOT working within a relationship can be difficult to have, it’s the only way to identify and resolve issues and maintain a strong partnership.

Client/agency relationships cannot be built on a foundation of assumptions. Following any new business win, these expectations must be discussed in detail and agreed to. And as client/agency relationships continue to grow, evolve, and change, it doesn’t hurt to reset expectations along the way and ensure that the foundation both sides are working on is free of assumptions.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Making the Most of Screen Multitasking

Quinn Tetterton, Executive Creative Producer, Palio

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is the longest-running annual event in cable history. Since 1987, it’s been making people around the world gasp “WHOA” (and “EW”) as they learn more about these prehistoric predators. And just recently, it’s had more relevance than ever  to advertising agencies, especially pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing groups.

Every year, it gets bigger. This year, they partnered with the Red Cross (get the blood/shark tie-in?) to lend the event’s popularity to promoting blood donation. But it’s what they’ve done on the digital front this year that I found particularly interesting.

Shark Week Live is a web and app interaction that allows you to play games live as you watch the shows. They also released a Shark Week book app for the iPad, which shot straight to the top of the charts.

Sure, it’s all fun, and it’s great that it’s educational too, but what really caught my attention was the strategy behind Shark Week Live. You see, it’s a brilliant way to find a solution to multitasking.

Studies show that viewers – particularly younger ones – check multiple screens while they watch. The days of a viewer passively sitting through your program and giving it dedicated attention are on the wane, if not gone altogether. Today, we want to be getting information at all times, we’re used to switching, and we prefer to be interacting rather than just receiving.

What’s great about Shark Week Live is that it takes advantage of this as a benefit, instead of as a problem. Their attitude toward it was to accept that users are not going to give just one screen their undivided attention – and then instead of working around that, working with it.

You can play games, you can learn facts – you can essentially interact with Shark Week. So now as a viewer you’re getting the multi-screen, interactive experience that you’re looking for – but as Discovery, you’re getting viewers not just once but twice, or more!

Rather than accepting the loss of attention, they took it as a challenge. I haven’t seen the ratings or downloaded the numbers yet, but even unofficially, it’s easy to see that Shark Week Live had teeth.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

The Power of Listening

Todd LaRoche, EVP, Managing Director of Creative, Palio

I’ve just gone through our archives and realized that here at Palio, we mention listening quite often in our posts. I was very pleased to confirm this with my little bit of research. It means we’re doing something right, especially as an advertising agency in the field of pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing.

But I also noticed that when we talk about listening, we’re usually mentioning it in passing, as part of a larger goal, as a step in a process.

Listening can, and should, and needs to be, more than that, particularly in social media work. All too often, we relegate it to a baby step on the way to doing “real” things. When clients are nervous about entering the digital social media sphere, we tell them first to start out by listening, and then eventually they’ll work up the courage to really jump in to interactive social media work.

This is, of course, true, but it can lead people to think that listening is just that first baby step, and no more. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and this is the myth I want to dispel.

If you’ve let the listening aspect of your social media work slip to the back burner, now is the time to rectify that. Convene a “listening camp” and spend a few days really focusing on it. Start off by bringing your interns in to teach the first class. We know that’s who you’ve had doing the work of monitoring and listening. Listen hard to what they have to say about what the conversation about your brand is. Not the conversation that YOU have been trying to have. That’s different. You need to know the conversation that’s actually happening apart from you.

  1. Are people still complaining about that little product glitch that you wrote off as “handled” three months ago when the official work to address it ended?
  2. Is the most specific praise you’re getting from people coming about a product feature that you never really thought much about, and never highlighted very much?
  3. And what about your competition? What specific praise and specific complaints are they getting?

Our Hyper Island training experience in June (read more about it here) really helped us think long and hard and critically about what we do – what we should do differently, what we should do more of, and what we should change. We’re all doing our best to make sure that new mindset sticks with us.

One way we can get that started is by looking at listening in a brand new light.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

The Psychology of Sharing

Carl Turner, VP, Research Analytics Director, Palio

They say everything you need to know is learned in kindergarten. A common mantra heard in my childhood was “sharing is caring.” Whether that’s information or a prized possession, sharing demonstrates passion, caring or empathy for others. Sharing is deeply embedded in human nature and is evident in the digital information age.

Understanding why people share can help advertising agencies who are revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing design content that is most likely to be passed among as many of the appropriate people as possible.

While the desire to share hasn’t changed much over time, how information is imparted certainly has – especially with the explosion of social media. Today there is more content, a plethora of sources, a greater number of people communicating with more frequency and exchanging information more quickly than ever before.

The New York Times Customer Insight Group surveyed 2,500 medium/heavy online sharers to understand why people share and the motivational forces behind letting someone in on what you know. What they found: Sharing helps people do their jobs, process information more deeply, increases memory retention and creates a bond – a deeper connection – to the information. It also helps them feel valuable. According to the study, 94 percent of respondents carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient.

Sharing is also a way of defining yourself to others. Whether you’re updating your Facebook status with political rants or posting success baking meatloaf cupcakes, you’re giving the world details for your personal dossier. More than half the people in the survey (68 percent) said they share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about. They also share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about.

Other key motivators are to stay connected, feel a sense of community, discuss similar interests and keep in touch with people they might not keep in touch with otherwise. Sixty-nine percent said they share information because it helps them feel involved in the world.

The study identified six sharing personality archetypes:

Altruists – These folks want to be helpful and appreciated for their usefulness. Think of the girlfriend who sends you links to WebMD after you mention going to get your thyroid tested.

Careerists – Do you participate in LinkedIn Groups? Forward interesting business articles to your colleagues? Spend hours researching and reporting on CRM systems? A careerist makes a job of sharing and being “in the know.”

Hipsters – If sharing is part of who you are – too cool/busy/mobile for email, but not too busy to frequently update your status, send out tweets and are already drinking the Google+ kool-aid, you’re probably a hipster.

Boomerangs – This type knows that you are what you post and invests in sharing edgy, provocative content. When their content doesn’t get re-shared, they know they missed their mark.

Connectors – Need a plumber or an engineer fluent in Japanese? Every network has someone who can connect you to the information or resources you require.

Selectives – They know their audience and only share information they deem relevant. If you want to engage a selective, help them understand the WIIFM.

It’s important to keep in mind that people want to share with other individuals – not just your brand. Being a facilitator that drives online conversations requires understanding the motivations of why people share, especially as consumer touch points have increased and taken advocacy to the next level.

People who share want to be relevant, helpful, considerate, informative, creative, cutting edge and popular. To help them, keep your messages simple, appeal to their sense of humor, and embrace a sense of urgency.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Creativity in the Dog Days

Todd LaRoche, EVP, Managing Director of Creative, Palio

This time of year, vacations are omnipresent, budgets are being cut and execution of the year’s plans is well underway. When the offices, the coffers, and the idea banks are all empty, how do we stay challenged and challenging? How can we keep creativity and responsiveness going, even in the dog days of summer?

  1. Take a brain staycation. Just because you’re in the office working doesn’t mean that it needs to be just another work day. Visit another team or department for a little while and see what they’re working on. Go explain your current priority to someone outside the project, and see what they have to say about it. Make the time to keep your brain going. You don’t have to leave the office to get a new perspective.
  2. Mentor. Students are all home on summer vacation. Find some promising ones that you know, and take one to lunch or let one shadow you for a day. Tell them how you found your way into your line of work, explain how networking is done, and listen to their plans. You’ll recapture some of their wide-eyed excitement, and do a good deed by giving them a leg up.
  3. Plan a company event. Take the team paintballing, hiking, or even just on a picnic in the courtyard with sandwiches bought from the deli downstairs. You’ll get not just your own creativity going with the change of pace, but everyone else’s as well, and build team spirit while you do. Make sure to take some photos or video so you can enjoy the warm-weather memories when you’re all peering out the conference-room windows in six months at the snow falling.
  4. Do something new. Go rafting, enter a 5K or take a Sunday drive to that little town you always wanted to wander through. Finding out what summer activities you’ve been missing out on in your own hometown can make you re-think something you thought you knew inside and out. Then take that same approach to your work. You’ve been so close to it that you think you know it all, but there’s probably the equivalent of a great cafe or a fun race hiding in there for the finding.
  5. Get some work done outside. Take advantage of the long sunny days and find a streetside coffee shop, a park or your own back deck to get some fresh air while you catch up on emails or get some uninterrupted time to finish your latest project. You can take a walk around the office complex while you’re on a conference call, too. And when you do, you’ll be surprised by how much more easily you focus, how much faster the ideas flow, and how quickly the time seems to pass.
  6. Make sure you holiday too. While you’re busy slaloming the project schedule around everyone else’s vacation, don’t forget to take your own time off too. You need it just as much as anyone else, and it will help recharge your creativity more than just about anything else.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Social Media’s Newest Phenomenon: Google+

Gillian Slattery, Interactive Producer, Palio

Everyone seems enamored with Google’s foray into social media, Google+, a social platform that enables users to segment followers and friends in circles and promises a richer social media experience. Unlike current online social models such as Facebook and Twitter, users can easily tailor messages for specific segments, resulting in greater control of their social networking participation. Google+ also incorporates video conference technology, enabling people to create “hangouts” using their webcam to chat with up to 10 members of their circles. And, it integrates a variety of online resources – RSS feeds, blogs, Google Reader, email, etc. – into a single interface.

Online enthusiasts and techno-geeks have embraced the new service in droves – Google+ has about 4.5 million users so far – and the service is still in beta. While I can respect that a beta version of anything needs to work through the kinks, I’m not yet sold on the value of this new platform.

Sure, people are snatching up invites as quickly as they’re made available, but that may be indicative of human nature’s need to access and try anything new. If it doesn’t deliver a better experience, users are going to stick with what they know. Tech writer Robert Scoble has praised Google+, yet he admits that it’s not likely to gain widespread adoption and doubts your mom will move from Facebook to Google+.

Several prominent technology pundits have professed their abandonment of other social platforms, but that may not be the smartest move for most people. Here’s why:

Your friends are not yet on it. Unless you work in or have friends with a deep love of technology, chances are they haven’t heard of this new service or they don’t see the reason to try it. Not everyone jumps to the next new shiny object. And, if your friends and colleagues aren’t on it, what’s the point? Even if they are, you may already be using LinkedIn for work, Facebook for friends and Twitter to blend the two. Do you really need another social network?

Control is subjective. Yes, you can control who you share content with, but you can’t edit the title and comments of videos and links that you post on Google+. On Facebook, you get much more control of how content is presented.

Video chat isn’t for everyone. If you work at home or “socialize” online in the evenings, you may not be camera-ready. Does your boss really need to see you in your bunny pajamas at two in the afternoon? While Google is pushing this as a revolutionary advantage, group chat is a bit reminiscent of 1992 and the option of adding a video component doesn’t make it more appealing.

Having everything in one place isn’t always a good idea. Sure, it’s convenient to have centralized access to all your information, but do you really want a single service knowing who you chat with, what you’re searching for and everything you deem sharable? Plus, in the event of a disaster, is it prudent to keep everything in one place?

You give up your right to ownership. Facebook has gotten a bad rap for using user-generated content, but if you’ve read Google+’s fine print, you know you’re selling your soul. Google owns the right to everything you post and has the ability to redistribute it as it sees fit. So, if you’re a budding photographer, you may not want to post your original images because once you do, they belong to Google, violating any copyright hold you may have on them (and thus limiting your ability to profit from content you share).

Maybe I don’t like Google+ because it’s the new kid or maybe because I’m not suffering from Facebook fatigue. While I’m dabbling around and still learning the nuances of Google+, I’m not yet ready to abandon the investment I’ve made in other social platforms.

Have you tried Google+? Will it be a category killer or go the way of Google Wave?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.


The Power of Video

Marty Hardin, SVP, Director of Emerging Media and Technology, Palio

Do you buy into the theory that the Internet has altered our brains? Author Nicholas Carr argues that it’s put us in a constant state of disruption and I agree. Rather than devouring books in deep concentration, we’re now prone to mind wandering, checking email, visiting Facebook or Googling symptoms.

Even though it seems most of us are working with shortened attention spans, it doesn’t mean we’re less hungry to learn. Health care companies that tap into the power of video can present compelling content in a way that is engaging while requiring less time for people to absorb information. Video capabilities on smartphones, iPads or other portable devices also provide flexibility in how and when messages are delivered and can change patient, prospect or employee experiences and interactions in many ways:

Motivate action: Getting patients to take their medications as prescribed is a recognized problem. Short videos that demonstrate how to give an insulin shot or communicate the importance of taking medication on time, are easier to absorb than written instructions. Video reminders can provide a personalized, visual prompt to make sure patients are following physician instructions or remember what they learned in the doctor’s office.

Inform buying decisions: Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical companies could use QR codes on their packaging to launch a video at the store shelf – when a patient is making a buying decision. Consumers can instantly get more information, watch a commercial or view a testimonial from another consumer.

Educate and entertain: An interactive video brochure can be more engaging than an email or printed piece. Messages can be communicated quickly and effectively and hold the viewer’s attention, enabling them to absorb the information. Marketers can also track and report viewing statistics to understand the effectiveness of their communications.

Prepare sales representatives: PowerPoint presentations pack a lot of information, but they typically require access to a computer and can be a time drain for busy representatives. Video presentations, on the other hand, can be accessed anywhere – at home, in the parking lot prior to an appointment, etc. – giving reps a quick way to review relevant information. If appropriate, they can also share the video with a prospect or send it as a link via email at an appointment’s conclusion. With video capabilities on their smartphone, they can create their own personalized video to follow up from a sales call, enabling another interaction with a physician at his or her convenience.

Video allows people to create compelling content that taps into the emotional center of the brain, making it easier for people to recall what they’ve learned. It’s an effective way to break through messaging clutter.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.


Getting Hyper at Palio

Rob Kempton, VP, Brand Planning Director, Palio

Palio just invested a sizable amount cash and time in their people. For 3 days they took us off site and introduced us to the team at Hyper Island – the extreme sports of social media schools (based in Sweden). 

What did we learn? Well my personal blog has the details. But in a nut shell, digital or “social media” is the present. It’s a shift in how we live our lives. So we all (as an agency, our clients, your nearest and dearest!) should be bold and dip our collective toes in the water, then learn to swim with the aim of finding some personal context.

I’d encourage you to follow @yellif and @markmedia who inspired our thinking throughout our 3 days. In addition, follow #himc for all the feeds linked to the Hyper Island master class (past and present). 

Here are my core lessons from the 3 days – which I’ll aim to advocate from now on!

Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.

Is Your Coffee Diluted?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Tiffany Ryan, Vice President, Account Services, Palio

People would say that I am a Starbucks brand loyalist. A frequent flyer on the caffeine jet. Passionate about my triple-venti-nonfat-caramel-drizzle latte. As a marketer, I have been betrayed by Starbucks.

“The world has changed and Starbucks has changed,” says Howard Schultz in his explanation of the new Starbucks logo that was revealed in March of this year. “The new logo…allows us the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee.” Starbucks has been diluting its brand for a number of years. The commoditization of its product – coffee – led to dissatisfied customers and industry analysts wondering if the brand would survive. A memo from Howard Schultz to his top executives in 2007 leaked to and gained the attention of the New York Times. In it, Schultz asked executives to de-commoditize the Starbucks brand and go back to their core values. A message, The New York Times points out, vastly different from the message he delivered to Wall Street.

I remember the old Starbucks fondly. In fact, I worked there my first year out of college, helping to open the first Starbucks in Saratoga Springs. I didn’t really drink coffee at the time, but I will tell you it was one of the favorite jobs I’ve ever had. I remember making the perfect latte for a customer – two shots pulled in 20 seconds (from the old grind and tamp espresso machines), filling ¾ of the coffee cup with milk, ¼ with foam. Steaming milk was an art – getting the foam just right was critical. Having enough foam to fulfill a special request of an extra dry cappuccino took time, patience, skill – carefully watching the thermometer to ensure it was steamed to just the right temperature.

We had customers who were in every day for their special order. When you handed them their hand crafted, perfectly created beverage, you could see the instant gratification in their face, in their stance. For them, it wasn’t just coffee, it was the start of their day.

It was an experience – an experience rooted in coffee.  Customers would ask if we had Italian Soda, breakfast sandwiches, fountain drinks. No, we had coffee. Excellent coffee. We were Starbucks.

Today the experience is vastly different. Baristas are no longer tethered to the espresso machines, working to pull the perfect espresso shot. Milk is steamed by tossing a pitcher under an automatically timed steamer. I can’t remember the last time my venti latte cup was actually topped with the right amount of foam. I watch sadly as my caramel drizzle sinks right to the bottom of the cup, no longer positioned at the top of my cup with a nice, thick foam.

Starbucks is no longer about coffee. They are about the masses. Schultz says it here: “…forming connections with millions of customers every day in our stores, in grocery aisles, at home and at work. Starbucks will continue to offer the highest-quality coffee, but we will offer other products as well.”

I don’t dispute that in order to survive in this economy, with increasing competition and the need to grow its customer base, Starbucks needs to evolve. But this logo evolution has me wondering and questioning – what exactly does one of my favorite brands stand for? How can they juggle frappucinos, iced tea, sandwiches, and who knows what else and still be about the best coffee? Will they ever make me a perfect latte again? What exactly does it mean when your favorite coffee shop removes the word coffee from their logo?

The key lesson here is evolving without disenfranchising your brand loyalists. These people have been with you for years, supporting your core values, and driving your business. They will walk 10 city blocks to seek out your store, instead of drinking Starbucks-brewed coffee from the hotel lobby. They still prefer to buy beans from the Starbucks shop instead of a big box store. Most important, they are the people who believe your brand experience is truly unique and not a commodity.

The jury is still out on the evolution of Starbucks. But as a marketer, I have to admit, I’m concerned about the viability of their new platform. I can no longer answer the question, “What does your favorite brand stand for?” The answer is no longer a singular, concise thought. That can’t be a good thing.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

© 2011